EAST CHATHAM, N.Y. – The New York branch of Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization held its traditional field trip known as Merit Badge Weekend at Vovcha Tropa, the 300-acre Plast campsite in upstate New York.
This event, run by the older scouts group in New York, started 10 years ago with only 10 scouts (age 11-17) and five counselors. Over the years, this event has gained in popularity as more and more scouts are eager to learn and earn new merit badges, reunite with long-distance friends and enjoy nature’s beauty.
This year, the Merit Badge Weekend took place September 27-29 with record attendance: 100 scouts from seven Plast branches cities, plus 25 older scouts, who served in the capacity of counselors. In addition, 10 senior scouts and parents arrived to oversee the weekend’s events and ensure safety.
Each participant had an opportunity to select three out of five skills being offered: Basic Automotive Skills, Photography, Track and Field, Translation and Rifle Shooting. A separate afternoon program was provided for the oldest group of scouts as many had already participated in previous Merit Badge Weekends.
Adia and Max Magun, the directors of the entire weekend of events, began preparing and planning this event well before the summer. During the weekend, the leadership team included Max Magun, Lesyk Martynetz and Andrew Shmatolocha.
The Khmelnychenky fraternity of Plast taught various skills, while the Chortopolokhy sorority prepared delicious meals. Senior scouts also taught a few skills. Dr. Ihor Magun and nurse Lesia Magun provided medical care.
The weekend flew by. All arrived on Friday evening, Saturday was chock full of activities, and Sunday ended with the closing ceremony and distribution of merit badge certificates and emblems. The weather cooperated, with warm sunny days and a brilliant sky filled with sparkling stars at night.